Individualization of Education

Manu Dias - AGECOM

Pedagogic specialization is very much needed so as to early optimize the individual development of advanced talent. (Photo Manu Dias/AGECOM)

Education sector is extremely inefficient and so pedagogic specialization and digitalization are needed.

1. Cloister of Education
2. Pedagogic Specialization
3. Vertical Curriculum
4. Economy of Education
5. Cloister of Academia

1. Cloister of Education

Public discourse about education policy is often premised upon past individual experience that is subsequently falsely universalized by ignoring the immense human cognitive diversity among legal minors and legal adults alike, neither of which is a cognitively homogenous group despite the hegemonic ageist ideology. While in the private sector the diversity of ‘human capital’ is slightly appreciated to a very limited and exclusionary degree, the understanding that the value of ‘national human capital’ lies in empowering its inherent cognitive diversity is sorely missing in Human society at large. The diverse experiences that different human beings recollect from their years in education is rather very much reflective of human cognitive diversity generally.

While the underlying macro-economic problem in the education sector is lack of growth in productivity, the left and the right alike conceive of education as a pseudo-sacred secular cloister. Indeed, the Para-Christian secular cloister is upheld by the left and the right alike as the panacea for solving almost every conceivable political problem there is. Due to its secular sacred status, the basic premises of its organization remain unquestioned for secular redemption is indeed expected from the secular cloister. This is a redemption that never arrives because the secular cloister is a particularly inefficient and in many ways unethical mode of managing the inherent diversity in national human capital. The school is not the sole secular cloister, others are the prison, the hospital, the academic campus, the kibbutz, the kolkhoz, the Gulag forced labor camp, the idealized yet usually dysfunctional nuclear family and of course the nation state itself.

This illusion is maintained by an obscure ancient myth, tabula rasa that although completely contrary to everything known about human cognitive diversity in the discipline of psychometrics and psychology at large, this particular illusion even so remains completely hegemonic in contemporary human civilization through the secular cloister of education. Yet since both Karl Marx and John Locke believed in this obscure Hellenistic doctrine of tabula rasa, this notion remains completely hegemonic in contemporary human civilization. Thus children are conceived of as “empty pages” that are molded in secular cloisters in accordance with their individual level of self-discipline. The privileged middle class typically believes that their children achieve better due to their supposedly superior level of ‘morality’ when in fact, middle class children on average have a genetic and psychometric advantage. The same is true for average differences in “educational achievement” between different human taxa.

The central virtuecratic conception of education in the secular cloister is thus that of self-control as the central determining feature of education through “hard work” and “morality”. Hence, learning is conceived of as a virtue of egocentric self-control as opposed to a virtue of wise pleasure. In practice, most forms of compulsory education (and especially so when state-owned) constitute a totalitarian experience that leaves many former pupils/students neurotic and traumatized to varying degrees.

As generally with regard to the public sector, the democratic political left will hold up ‘solidarity’ as its political panacea while reversely the democratic political right will uphold ‘competition’ as its own, seemingly contrasting political panacea. Of course, any appropriately functioning major human society requires both solidarity and competition and undoubtedly there must be some balance between the two. However, this is not nearly enough when faced with the increasingly pressing macro-economic need to reform inefficient secular cloisters in the publically funded sector.

There is a basic premise and insight in the academic discipline of the history of economics that points out that specialization is ultimately the very basis for all major historical economic growth. While solidarity and competition are undoubtedly important elements in the future of the publically funded sector; specialization however is no less important than solidarity and competition which are really two sides of the same coin as group solidary is usually about competition between different groups of persons whether categories of Humans Animals or categories of non-Human persons.

What room is there therefore for specialization in the system of education? There is first and foremost room for pedagogic specialization reflective of existing cognitive, psychometric diversity that in turn is reflective of social, cultural and genetic diversity. It is virtually impossible for one teacher no matter how talented and well-motivated to appropriately tend to the very different educational needs of cognitively diverse children who are usually arbitrarily lumped together in one single classroom typically only on the basis of date of birth and place of residence. While privately owned schools tend to be somewhat better managed with pupils with typically relatively higher IQs, the dysfunctional system is essentially and structurally the same. This is the Para-Christian system of cloistered “education through self-control” originally conceived of and developed in the medieval Catholic cloister of Western Europe, only later to be transferred to cathedrals and coupled with the Aristotelian construct of subjects knowledge. The cloistered system in totalitarian self-control remains essentially the same, having only been microscopically modified since medieval times in terms of its organization, management and organizational ideology.

This is not to approach this issue from either right or left, but rather to reject the shared unconscious metaphysical, purportedly “secular” Para-Christian assumptions of both very similar “camps” that indeed serve to uphold this totalitarian travesty in planned economics known as “schools.” However, such a critique of Para-Christian dys-education would be ineffective and insufficient were it not to offer an appropriate alternative as based and premised on the three basic evolutionary values of solidarity, competition and specialization.

2. Pedagogic Specialization

Pedagogic specialization means multi-axis specialization based on the inherent cognitive, psychometric diversity at hand of (a) teachers, (b) pupils/students and both existing and future (c) technology.

Teachers should be divided into two main categories. The elite of educators who are truly talented in inspired teaching should be given the task of igniting interest in particular subjects and topics among pupils/students. Once this intrinsic interest has been ignited; good teachers and an increasingly greater participation of technology can do the rest of the task far more efficiently than at present because education is drastically more effective when there is already real interest in the subject matter at hand.

Pupils should be grouped in accordance with their pedagogic needs. Just as there are different sexual needs among different persons (human and non-human) so are there also different and divergent pedagogic needs among both legal minors and legal adults. While any particular established form of pedagogy is no doubt fitting for at least some pupils, it is not appropriate or effective for the vast majority of pupils and students who have simply different and indeed rather diverse pedagogic needs. If pupils/students are grouped together in school classes on the basis of their individual pedagogic needs, then this will make the education vastly more effective and very significantly more rapid as each pupil/student will not be tailored for the system but will rather receive an education tailored to her individual pedagogical needs by simply grouping her with pupils/students with extremely similar pedagogic needs.

Chronological age is a largely arbitrary bureaucratic construct with limited relevance as there is vast divergence in psychological development levels of children of the same chronological age. Chronological age should therefore strictly speaking not be a criterion at all as children of similar psychological developmental age should as long as pedagogically and psychometrically relevant also be a criterion in grouping pupils together. Hence the grouping of children into school classes should be neutral with regard to chronological age and rather prominently factor developmental age. This means that pedagogic specialization will take place in a larger demographic pool of pupils than what would be the case if pedagogic specialization would be restricted by annualized chronological age.

There should be school vouchers covering the entire semester of education that should be calculated relative to intelligence quotient (IQ), relevant disabilities and other relevant psychometric factors. Generally speaking, those Human individuals with relatively higher IQs learn faster and easier than those with comparatively speaking lower IQs although of course this is not true in every single case. Therefore, the higher the individual IQ the lesser money should the individual school voucher thus contain. Reversely, the lower IQ, the more funding should follow with the individual school voucher. Similarly should there be more funding included in the individual school voucher due to relevant disabilities and other relevant psychometric factors. It is really unfair for school vouchers not to vary in accordance with individual psychometric profile since it makes children with comparatively lower IQs and children with disabilities practically speaking “unprofitable”. Having school vouchers vary in accordance with individual psychometric and functional profile will serve to literally make all pupils “profitable”.

Talent usually involves a convergence of personal interest and genetically-founded developmental cognitive capacity. Therefore talent can be developed by pedagogical stimuli in increasing the level of genuine individual interest in a given topic or subject. This is effective in creating personal interest in a certain topic or subject but is also effective for the individual development of talent.

Most educational tracks for learning professions whether academic or non-academic should be based on talent testing. Yes, this is subjective because new talent may develop as new interests emerge for the human individual. If however new individual talent emerges with time – then indeed the better – as perhaps a certain professional psychometric talent test should then be individually taken once more. E.g. students looking to become teachers should have very significant talent for communicating with an audience and medical students should similarly have a very significant capacity for experiencing empathy and capacity to emotionally (and not just intellectually) understand the cognitive processes of yet other persons.

Pedagogic specialization of grouping together pupils/students with highly similar needs will enable increasingly supplanting teachers with software. This means that much greater efficiency will be achieved with increasingly pedagogically specialized software. Also, virtual reality will increasingly supplant physical classrooms.

Universities and colleges should also be pedagogically specialized in the sense that every university and every college should have its own specific profile in terms of teaching/study methods. Pedagogic specialization even at academic institutions will of course bring much more efficiency in time use and less time required for reaching educational goals.

Kindergartens should be utilized as real educational institutions with all forms of education beginning at the earliest individually appropriate age. Kindergartens should promote multilingualism; there is e.g. no reason why most pupils should not learn both a sign language and standard Chinese. The task of creating intense personal interests in as many subjects and topics as possible should begin in kindergarten and should lay the foundation for learning through intense personal interest.

Children with relatively lower levels of IQ are systematically mistreated and usually falsely accused of being lazy, untalented and not doing their homework. However, in a talent economy everyone should get an individualized education through pedagogic specialization by grouping with psychometric peers. Having relatively lower IQ mostly means learning at a slower pace and this lower pace must be fully respected. Yet the pace of learning will in most cases drastically increase by development of intense personal interest in the topic or subject.

Thematic periods of weeks or months of study rather than the usual mixed-up weekly schedule will vastly improve productivity and efficiency through focus. Also school days should not be too long so that education does not become tiresome and exhausting.

All these combined measures of pedagogic specialization will make schools increasingly more efficient and hence enable very significant gradual lowering of the cost of education. For instance, many students with relatively higher IQs in junior and senior high school are already psychologically ready for studying with academic mass pedagogy; yet do study in the economically much less efficient current pre-academic framework until departing for higher education.

Notions such as high-achievers and low-achievers are in education essentially irrelevant since this simply reflects divergent individual pedagogic needs. To hold every pupil to account on the unfounded basis of an imaginary genetic norm (which in many countries is a white norm) is simply child abuse as different pupils/students have different pedagogic needs and requirements.

All the above means that the average number of years spent in education can be very significantly reduced and Humans may thus enter the work force many years earlier than at present. Furthermore, the current compulsory school system is not only generally inefficient in unnecessarily involving too many years but schools days are often too lengthy in usually tragically causing educational exhaustion and educational stigmatization. Thus with pedagogic specialization both the number of years and the number of hours spent in school each day may be significantly reduced in enabling pupils/students to commence regularly working part-time throughout the year at a much earlier age than is presently the case in economically developed nations.

3. Vertical Curriculum

The Aristotelian taxonomy of knowledge is hardly relevant to the increasingly post-industrial era into which the economically developed world is transitioning. The conception of educational mass production of ready-fit ‘human modules’ is becoming increasingly irrelevant and obsolete as the tasks of human modules are increasingly mechanized and thus supplanted with technology. The economically developed world is once more transitioning into a new kind of economy as happened first with the Neolithic revolution and later with Industrial revolution where Human capital will become as important if not more important than monetary capital.

This transition means that rather than spouting out more human modules, the system of education needs to fashion citizens who are adaptive and innovative. E.g. unemployment is indicative of a deficit in entrepreneurship, not in the number of open job positions. Yet, the system of education continues to produce a too large surplus of wannabe employees while providing pupils and students little to none education in entrepreneurship.

Generally speaking, the Aristotelian curriculum with its ancient division into fixed school subjects of stereotypical knowledge is redundant and unfit for the increasingly emerging post-industrial talent economy where capacity to think out of the box will increasingly become a requirement.

Schools should have both compulsory core subjects and voluntary subjects of study, yet studies in any given subject should not commence until a personal interest has already been awoken in the subject matter at hand. The following is a list of suggested core vertical subjects that should indeed be obligatory although studies would not actually individually commence until sufficient personal interest is ignited. The vertical core subjects should basically teach student how to better process both new information and new encounters.

  1. Diversity Studies should prepare pupils/students in their encounter with human and non-human diversity of many different kinds; including disabilities and cognitive diversity more generally, human and non-human.
  2. Entrepreneurship should teach accounting, innovation, entrepreneurship and the art of engineering.
  3. Critique would involve learning to understand different existing forms of critique in different cultures; political, philosophical, scientific, religious etc.
  4. Basic skills Reading, writing, basic mathematical skills etc. More advanced mathematics should be studied as part of educational tracks for professions needing knowledge of such more advanced mathematics. It is likely that future robots will be developed that can teach these basic skills.
  5. Communication should involve enhancing understanding of different cultures and species involving learning basic communication/comprehension skills.
  6. Psemography would be focused on the academic study of discrimination, oppression, lies and prejudice (DOLP) and importantly how to detect them.
  7. Creativity studies would encourage creativity in the sciences rather than as of present exclusively and indeed irrationally so in the arts
  8. Axionomy would focus on the study of values, all values being mutually unequal and the documented, historical, social effects of their specific application.
  9. Conscientiousness studies would focus on teaching applied good judgment, including by studying conscientiousness and civil courage as practiced throughout history.
  10. Meta studies would study how figures of thinking and religious metaphysics subconsciously shape “secular” culture and its modes of thinking.

These would be the compulsory core subjects, with pupils/students in pre-academic education being expected and encouraged to study further topics and subjects in accordance with their talent and individual interest. Knowledge in pre-academic educational institutions would thus not be primarily studied in the Aristotelian horizontal dimensions known as “fields”, “subjects” and “disciplines”, but rather through a knowledge typology of vertical virtue. What knowledge in horizontal fields of science that truly matters is largely individual and knowledge from horizontal fields of knowledge should thus be incorporated into the vertical subjects.

4. Economics of Education

Pedagogic specialization goes hand in hand with digitalization of education generally as geared towards simultaneously drastically increasing quality and drastically reducing costs. Teaching children who are not interested in the subject matter at hand is highly ineffective and also ethically indefensible as this is a form of child abuse. The current system of education stigmatizes children with relatively lower IQs and is therefore both unethical and indefensible since developing talent and knowledge in every pupil is what will matter in the talent economy of the future. Most tasks currently performed by Human employees in today’s global economy will in the future be taken over by machines; whether by computers, robots or 3D printers.

Therefore, developing abilities in every pupil is rather necessary as those without developed talent will become redundant economically speaking and thus become either an economic burden or a social problem. Stigmatizing pupils who have relatively lower IQs as is currently the global practice in compulsory education is thus both irrational and indefensible and a remnant from prior eras when most humans belonged to one profession; first farmers and later industrial workers and were thus excluded from social minority professions.

5. Cloister of Academia

Academia as is now known historically emerged out of a specifically Catholic system of education that in turn emerged out of medieval catholic monasteries. Academia has an ultra-conservative organizational culture and typically emphasizes form over content. Copying books by hand was a common activity in Christian monasteries and so uncritically transferring current epistemologically hegemonic forms knowledge remains the core of academia.

In academia, students detrimentally learn to think within boxes or so called “subjects”. Students and scholars who think outside the reigning paradigm of the day are typically subject to virulent psychological aggression and institutional bullying.

Subjects should be discarded as subjects constitute unnecessary limitations, unhelpful units and involves unnecessary mass learning typically due to by far insufficient specialization. Academia should first and foremost focus on 1) thinking outside the box, 2) learning advanced problem resolution, 3) taking independent initiatives and 4) ensuring optimal early specialization as geared to substantially enhance advanced individual talent.

The catholic-style hierarchy in academia is simply redundant as academia should rather nourish innovation, entrepreneurship and limitless thinking irrespective of the chronological age of participants. Research can be very significantly accelerated if the focus is on solving unresolved advanced problems. There should be global digitalized compilation and aggregation of research data that should not be focused or premised on proving any particular hypothesis (which tends to distort research data) but rather compilation and aggregation of data generally. Thus research should be depersonalized and available to all online. Advanced problem resolution should be performed dialogically and in groups of persons trained in advanced problem resolution. Data compilation/aggregation and advanced problem resolution should indeed be the two main components of research that will serve to very significantly speed up the very process of research.